When the buildings were renovated here, a number of oak beams were removed. Some were used elsewhere in the renovations, but some were left over. I have been storing these left-over beams for a while, being convinced at the start that I could do something useful with them. They have been sat outside in the garden gathering woodlice and rot ever since.
After 5 years I decided that if I hadn't done anything with them so far, I was unlikely to ever, so it was time to get rid of them, and I decided to cut them up for the fire. Now old oak is tough, and hard to cut, and my little battery-powered chain saw won't cope. I could, in principle, borrow a big, powerful chain saw from a neighbour, but there are some nails in the wood and they make mincemeat out of chain saw chains. I really don't want to have to repair a friend's chain saw for him and apologise for having needed to. I asked at a local tool hire shop about hiring one: I could hire a 50cc petrol 2-stroke for the day for 50 euros, and if I damaged the chain, 30 euros more to replace it.
In the local supermarket I came across 2 Kilowatt electric mains-powered chain saws for sale. Made in China, cheap as chips, built to a price, but functional. 54 euros. I figure it costs about the same as hiring one, has about the same power as a 50cc petrol one, and assuming it can do the job, even if I damage the chain, I will have a chain saw at the end of the day for about the price of a rental. Done deal.
I cut the beams up this afternoon, and I'm pleased that the new chain saw was well up to the task. I had to sharpen the chain a couple of times, but it made short work of the old oak.
Incidentally, you can see from the picture how oak rots when it gets wet. The wood tends to fissure naturally, from the outside in, and then water can flow in towards the heart of the wood, where it slowly causes decay. In unfissured wood, I usually find that any rot is confined to the outer centimetre or so, and the wood is perfectly solid farther in.